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Wes Craven didn’t like Freddy’s direction in the Elm Street movies

Freddy Krueger became a murderous clown in some of the later Nightmare on Elm Street movies, and creator Wes Craven didn't take too kindly to this change.

Freddy Krueger in A Nightmare on Elm Street 4

Freddy Krueger – the knife-fingered terror at the heart of A Nightmare on Elm Street – stands as one of the best movie villains in the history of cinema. But his creator, horror maestro Wes Craven, was less than keen on how the character developed in his many sequels.

Robert Englund has been the man behind the prosthetics ever since Freddy Krueger made his debut with one of the best horror movies of all time in 1984. He has watched as Freddy developed from a malevolent psychopath to a sort of stab-happy jester as the franchise expanded at the tail-end of the 1980s.

In an interview with Looper, Englund explained that the decision to exploit the comedy side of Freddy in the Elm Street sequels didn’t sit well with Craven. The director was more of a Krueger purist, it seems.

“Wes got a little angry with us when we exploited it in later sequels in the franchise, but that was always there,” said Englund. “In [the first movie], Freddy cracks jokes, he sticks his tongue out of a phone, he puts the girl’s face on and pretends to be Tina. She sinks into the stairs, the stairs turn liquidy in her nightmare. Freddy’s managing all of that.”

Nightmare on Elm Street tongue phone scene

Craven might not have been keen on the idea of Freddy being as funny as he was vicious, but Englund saw this as a crucial part of what made the violent centerpiece of some of the best slasher movies tick.

He added: “He has a wicked, cruel, clown sense of humor, which is a classic ingredient in theater and in storytelling — the cruel clown, Rumpelstiltskin — and that was always there. The fans loved it so much because it was evidence of Freddy’s personality, that we did exploit it in later sequels. That was always part and parcel of the character.”

We love the Elm Street movies, and we’re very much on Englund’s side here, with respect to the late Mr Craven. Freddy is as much a clown as he is a killer and, if anything, that makes him even scarier. But with that said, we could have done without the sunglasses scene from Elm Street 4. A bit too much camp and comedy there, guys.

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For more from the devilish dreamscapes of the best movies in the Elm Street series, find out about the bizarre true story that inspired Freddy Krueger and learn about the Nightmare on Elm Street effect that was so creepy it got cut. It must have been truly horrifying.

Meanwhile, we’ve got you covered on the best new movies for horror fans coming this year, including the Insidious 5 release date and the Saw 10 release date. You can also check out our The Boogeyman review and Evil Dead Rise review for some of 2023’s creepiest movies so far.